Studio Plug-Ins | Cool Software, Hot Sounds

Jun 24, 2010 5:43 PM, By George Petersen



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To say that recent years have brought an explosion of third-party DSP plug-ins is an understatement. A range of companies both new and old have released dozens of products, feeding the industry’s unquenchable thirst for new sounds and effects. At the same time, the number of high-quality plug-ins bundled with DAWs continues to rise. As the new saying goes, "You can never have too many plug-ins.”

With this in mind, we went through this surge of products that debuted or began shipping in the past year and whittled the list down to the fave new plugs we’d want to add to our virtual racks. Prices range from free to thousands of dollars, so there’s something for everyone’s taste and budget. If you’re interested in checking these out for yourself, most companies offer time-limited or demo versions of their products to audition and evaluate on your own system.


EM 2C Audio Aether Review

2CAUDIO AETHER ($249.95)
Version 1.5 of the Aether self-modulating algorithmic reverb from 2CAudio features a revamped GUI, 2x and 4x oversampling, 64-bit DSP, band-limited interpolation, variable-quality modes, mid/side modes, complex stereo modes and more. Two $24.95 options are the Aether Integrity Expansion, with an additional 160 presets of realistic spaces, such as rooms, churches, halls and chambers; and the Aether Creativity Expansion, with 150 thematic presets, huge spaces and effects. It’s available for Windows VST hosts (32- or 64-bit) for XP/Vista/Win 7 and 32-bit VST or AU for Intel-based Macs OS X 4.11 and higher; an RTAS version is planned.

SoundSoap Pro 2 offers super-intelligent adaptive noise-reduction with four restoration tools in a single plug-in—including new Adaptive technology for automated broadband noise removal—with advanced controls for removing unwanted hiss, room noise, electrical hum, rumble, clicks, crackles and broadband noise with minimal artifacts. SoundSoap Pro 2 is designed for AU, RTAS/AudioSuite and VST formats for use with Mac (OS 10.3.9 and higher) and Windows (XP/Vista/Win 7) hosts.

CEDAR DNS ONE ($3,750)
DNS One, CEDAR’s first software-based dialog noise-suppression plug-in, is available in RTAS format for Pro Tools HD and LE (Mac OS X and Windows). It offers the same audio quality and performance as the company’s DNS1500, DNS2000 and DNS3000. A DNS Control System GUI lets users control as many instances of DNS One as the user’s host system can support, plus up to 126 instances of DNS2000 and DNS3000. It is fully integrated with Pro Tools’ automation and hardware control surfaces, such as the ICON, D-Control and D-Command.

Able to operate as a plug-in or stand-alone, Melodyne Editor is intended for tweaking wayward notes up or down microscopically in pitch without affecting the rest of the performance. Previously, pitch correction was only practical with monophonic music tracks, but with Celemony’s DNA (Direct Note Access) technology, users can virtually reach into a chord and nudge a single note up or down in pitch, adjust its start time or amplitude, or mute it entirely. Melodyne Editor runs with most—though not all—recent Mac/PC DAWs that support VST, AU or RTAS.

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